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How about sneaking into the attorneys offices at night and leaving only the first page of a two page letter on desks? Or handing out inconsistent salary increases after getting wind of union activity? Or lying on public radio? Or writing "dear anonymous" letters and leaving them in employee mailboxes? Or sending a stooge out to interrogate brand new attorneys about their union sympathies? Or having informal (but clearly mandatory) "chat" sessions with your employees to pretend you care what they think or that you want their input?Instead of all that, how about simply listening to your employees, and let them have a voice. A real voice. How about living up to the "L" in your DFL endorsement?
MY favorite tactic is "feed the monkeys". Serve coffee and doughnuts in the elevator bay, throw odd little pizza parties. Yuck.Instead, how about throwing open the pocketbook for the latest deputy departure?? Or will it be an uncomfortable potluck like the the last one?
On at least two days this past week, Attorney General Swanson invited a number of Assistant Attorneys General to have lunch with her at the Capitol. Her efforts to reach out should be acknowledged as a positive step, especially in light of the harsh criticism she has received in this forum as being uncomfortable in her relationships with the staff. In addition, her appointment of an experienced lawyer and manager as a new member of the executive committee is to be applauded. We hope the lunch meetings lead to an improved internal climate that will reap dividends for the public, because a staff that feels truly appreciated will ultimately perform much better than one that feels devalued and demoralized.
I, too, commend the AG for having small lunch meetings with AAGs. I admit, I'd like to hear if the meetings produced any authentic conversation about improving the office or if it was a "managed" stunt. Regardless, it's clear that the organizers' momentum is influencing Swanson.
If Lori's meetings with staff were really designed to lead to positive change in the office, that would be a great sign. But they aren't. Lori just doesn't ever ask the right questions. Asking lawyers in the office about legal education courses and how we can file more amicus briefs is not going to get to the core problems the office is experiencing.If Lori really wanted feedback, she could ask open ended questions about staff satisfaction, workload issues, and how to make the office stronger as an institution. But she's either unwilling to have, or incapable of having, that kind of conversation. And she hasn't created an environment in which the staff can feel comfortable voicing their honest concerns without fearing they will lose their jobs. Instead, she is having meaningless and uncomfortable meetings with staff members so she can say she is meeting with them, without having to actually put herself out there to make the changes that are necessary to turn the office around. To make those changes she would have to acknowledge, even just to herself, that the policies under Mike and under her administration so far don't work and are harming the office's health.Lori hasn't shown so far that she is brave enough for that kind of leadership.
"If anyone approaches you about the union ... TELL REBECCA SPARTZ!"
"Tell Rebecca Spartz???????????"Are you kidding me? I'm no organizing expert, but who in their right mind would follow such a misguided directive - especially attorneys. There can be no other purpose in this directive than to get others in the office to serve up on a silver platter those who are working on this effort - an effort that is legal and within the rights of ever single person on staff. One attorney who the Administration learned was involved in the organizing effort has already been terminated. Are you really naive enough to believe it won't happen again? Or, more likely, is that exactly what you have in mind? I feel sorry for anyone who has somehow been convinced, persuaded or brainwashed into believing that they are obligated to tell someone - anyone - about anything relating to the organizing effort.
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